Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Looking Foward to...

Since mankind began, civilizations have always fallen: the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs…Now it’s our turn. Huge earthquakes rock the world. Cities are destroyed. But something even more awful is happening. An ancient evil has been unleashed, turning everday people into hunters, killers, crazies.

Mason's mother is dying after a terrible car accident. As he endures a last vigil at her hospital bed, his school is bombed and razed to the ground, and everyone he knows is killed. Aries survives an earthquake aftershock on a bus, and thinks the worst is over when a mysterious stranger pulls her out of the wreckage, but she’s about to discover a world changed forever. Clementine, the only survivor of an emergency town hall meeting that descends into murderous chaos, is on the run from savage strangers who used to be her friends and neighbors. And Michael witnesses a brutal road rage incident that is made much worse by the arrival of the police--who gun down the guilty party and then turn on the bystanding crowd.

Where do you go for justice when even the lawmakers have turned bad? These four teens are on the same road in a world gone mad. Struggling to survive, clinging on to love and meaning wherever it can be found, this is a journey into the heart of darkness – but also a journey to find each other and a place of safety.

My thoughts: I was sold at "the Romans, the Greeks, the Aztecs.... Now it's out turn."

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Dark Mirror review

Description: Lady Victoria Mansfield, youngest daughter of the earl and countess of Fairmount, is destined for a charmed life. Soon she will be presented during the London season, where she can choose a mate worthy of her status. 
Yet Tory has a shameful secret—a secret so powerful that, if exposed, it could strip her of her position and disgrace her family forever. Tory’s blood is tainted . . . by magic.
When a shocking accident forces Tory to demonstrate her despised skill, the secret she’s fought so hard to hide is revealed for all to see. She is immediately exiled to Lackland Abbey, a reform school for young men and women in her position. There she will learn to suppress her deplorable talents and maybe, if she’s one of the lucky ones, be able to return to society.
But Tory’s life is about to change forever. All that she’s ever known or considered important will be challenged. What lies ahead is only the beginning of a strange and wonderful journey into a world where destiny and magic come together, where true love and friendship find her, and where courage and strength of character are the only things that determine a young girl’s worth.

My thoughts: As a person who doesn’t usually enjoy historical fiction, I was amazed by the author’s ability to write an entertaining story while still throwing in some partly accurate history. I appreciated learning (or being reminded of) some of the history involved in the book.  I also think she did an amazing job of blending young adult fiction with historical fiction as well as combining tales from two different time periods. I was able to keep the two periods separate without getting confused.
I was surprised by the distinct differences Dark Mirror had from other books involving magic and romance. In Tory’s world world, magic wasn’t hidden. Of course individuals tried to hide their abilities, but everybody knew that magic existed. I’m used to being a part of worlds where most people didn’t even know magic existed. Another aspect that was different was the magic. It was unique. I haven’t read many books where anyone with magic can potentially contribute to another person’s power. This type of power was actually an idea I came up for me own book, but it was nice to see a legit author succeed in using it first (for the most part). There were two more reasons I loved the magic in this book. I don’t want to spoil anything so I’ll just say that it involved something with Merlin, which I love! I don’t know why, but I love all things involving King Arthur, Merlin and Camelot, so the Merlin references in this book were a surprising treat.
The distinct difference I liked about the romance in Dark Mirror was that it was a side story, but it still made me excited about the two character’s brief interactions. And although there were more important things going on that affected whole countries, all the other things going on around them just made the character’s relationship seem more intense. All of these aspects made for and entertaining and educational book. Dark Mirror didn’t end on a cliffhanger, but there were still unanswered questions that I can’t wait to find the answers in the second book, Dark Passage!

Book Teaser: Darkness Becomes Her

Leaning over, I went to grab my backpack, but movement in
the rearview mirror made me freeze.
A dark figure stood behind the car, now totally still. Fear shot lightning fast through my system, and I had the distinct feeling that I'd just dropped straight into a horror film.

Monday, March 28, 2011

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read last week:
Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore
Haven by Kristi Cook

Currently reading:
Darkness Becomes Her by Kelly Keaton

Upcoming read:
Umm... idk

Saturday, March 26, 2011

You Killed Wesley Payne review

Description: He's come to do a job.
A job that involves a body.
A body wrapped in duct tape found hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field.

You Killed Wesley Payne
is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year-old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn't whether Dalton's going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he's gonna get the girl. He always (sometimes) gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of "The Body" before it solves him.

Sean Beaudoin (Going Nowhere Faster, Fade to Blue) evokes the distinctive voices of legendary crime/noir authors Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson with a little bit of Mean Girls and Heathers throwin in for good measure. This smart, slick, and alluring detective novel that will tease you, thrill you, and suck you in.

Description: This was NOT what I expected when I got this book. It was packed full of weird slang, a crazy school and weird yet partly stereotypical characters. The slang and story as a whole was something I had to get used to. The dialogue was strange, and the story (characters, settings, etc.) was unrealistic, but once I accepted that nothing about this book would be normal (somewhere in the 1st chapter), I was hooked in. It did help that although I didn’t understand all the references or remember all the cliques, the author had an impressive ability to create clever and unique dialogue, providing me with another way to understand the ongoing story. I know Beaudoin had to put a lot of work into this book to invent a world full with Elvis looking rockers, psychedelic foxes and mysterious hitmen. Like, why the hec would you have hit men at a school, or a principle that makes money off of her students illegally? It’s wonderfully crazy, especially the characters. I loved me some Cassiopeia Jones. She made me think of an oriental Foxy Brown. 

Even their school was unique. Salt Water High is a place I’d never want to end up at. It’s corrupt; with students carrying guns and charging money (illegally) for everything, like paying the teacher to give you a grade other than an F, or paying to have an easy (or at least bearable) class schedule. I’d be broke by the first day! 

Each aspect of this story was filled with mystery and action. There were constant twists and turns that kept me guessing. It wasn’t too hard for me to guess who killed Wesley Payne. But everything else, all the other questions were left in the air until the end, which is another reason I liked this book. This was a nice change from the norm and I’m all for future mysteries for Dalton to solve.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Clarity review

Description: When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?
This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.
Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.
And a curse.
When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

My thoughts: As a person who generally avoids YA books in the mystery genre as well as any book that has to do with ghost and spirits, reading this book seemed like a potential for disaster. But then I saw various bloggers continue gush about it. That plus its rating on Goodreads made me want to release my book related stereotypes and give it a try. I’m so glad I did because this was such a great book! Everything fit like a puzzle, from the characters to the mystery aspect. 

This was an exciting read, filled with suspicious characters, complex relationships and hot newcomers. This book took so many turns that I probably accused every character but Clare of being the murderer. But that was half the fun, when I had no idea what was happening because the main character didn’t either. I also loved that the book wasn’t JUST about the murder case, but about relationships. The relationships between Clare and her mother, ex-boyfriend, love interest, brother, and even the brother’s relationship with girls in general, and so on.

These relationships and degrees of trust and stability involved with them made for a great mystery that flowed well throughout the book. This whodunit type book made for an exciting and suspenseful story.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Interview with M.J. Putney

 Q&A with M.J. Putney
(author of Dark Mirror)
1. What books did you read growing up that inspired you to write?

MJP:  I read everything: horse stories, science fiction, girls’ mysteries, boys’ sports series.  But always it was stories.  Popular fiction. 

2. Was there any specific person that made you a better writer, or inspired you to want to write?

MJP:  I always had stories in my head, but writers who particularly influenced me are Mary Stewart (romantic suspense}, Dorothy Dunnett (historical adventure), and Georgette Heyer (Regency romance.)

3. How much of the final version of Dark mirror came from your first draft vs. rewriting?

MJP:  I’m a plodder, editing as I go along, and not proceeding until I feel that what I’ve done so far is right.  So I don’t do a first draft.  What I send in to my editor is pretty much the final book, with the addition of whatever tweaks she asks for. 

4. What kind of research did you have to do for Dark Mirror?

MJP:  I’ve written enough Regency romances that I didn’t have to do much on that time period, but WWII is far more difficult, and within living memory.  I read books on life in England at that time, and visited any number of websites about Dunkirk and that phase of the war.  One of the most useful pieces of research was the Weather Channel’s “When Weather Changed History” show on Dunkirk.  I taped that off the air and watched it about four times with a notepad in one hand and the remote in the other to insure I got the weather patterns right for the days of the evacuation. 

5. Are you like any of your characters? Are any of your characters similar to people you know in real life?

MJP: All of my important characters have to resonate with some aspect of me, but none of them are me.  Though I’ll use traits I’ve see seen in others, ultimately the characters are creatures of my imagination.  The cats, however, are real cats.

6. What is your writing process like?

MJP:  I spend a lot of time feeling guilty about wasted time until panic sets in and the book starts to move. The hardest part of writing for me is not the actual writing, but sitting down and getting to work. 

7. With this series, do you know how it’s going to end or does it just come to you as you go along?

MJP:  I have ideas for future books, but really, it’s pretty much up in the air until we see how well the books sell.  I’ll do my best to insure that my characters end up in satisfactory places. 

8. What book or character do you wish you'd created?

MJP: Tough question!  I love Sherri L. Smith’s Flygirl.  And Sharon Shinn’s Archangel.  And Dorothy Dunnett’s Francis Crawford of Lymond.  And…I could go on all night!

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!

MJP:  Thanks for having me~

Book Teaser: Red Moon Rising

It starts as a human wail of pain, then gets scratchy and guttural, taking on an animal pitch, a sound that humans can't duplicate. It's the howl of misery. The agony of the Change.
I can't breathe. I can't even move.
In nineteen days, that'll be me.

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Bookish Pet Peeves

This meme was started by The Broke and the Bookish

1. Girls who fall in love with A-holes. There's a difference between A-holes and bad boys. Bad boys are fine, but not guys who treat everyone like crap, including the main character (and themselves in most cases).

2. Obvious "winner" in a love triangle/ Bad boy over nice guy. I like love triangles that are more evenly matched. It's not as fun when I know from the beginning which guy the girl likes the most. It's also annoying that the "winner" in most cases is the bad boy.

3. One book that should be a series or vise versa. In most cases there are series with 3-4 books that could have been one book, or at least 2. And there are a couple of books I've read that would have been better if the story had been spread out into a couple of books

4. Hardback covers. They're pretty but they get in my way!
5. Unnecessary kills. It's just annoying when a characters dies for (seemingly) no reason
6. When the story never moves forward. I can't stand when the first book in the series is at a standstill until the very last few chapters.

7. When a bad movie discourages potential readers. This should probably be the other way around because I also don't like it when readers think that a movie is exactly like the book and decide not to give the story another try.

8. Readers who read a book JUST because it was a movie. I think most of us have read a book because we heard about the movie. I just don't like the readers who doesn't read ANY books (or don't even know they exist) until it becomes a movie. I know people who've read the HP books and Twilight series, but won't read anything else until they see the "cool" movie trailer.

9.Books that don't get enough coverage. It's sad that so many excellent books go unnoticed every year.

10. Readers who think their opinion is law. "Trust me, I read this so you wouldn't have too." How do you know that?!! A reader can't assure other people they won't like a book unless they're the same person... Which means they have a bigger problem on there hands.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

In My Mailbox 53

This meme was started by TheStorySiren

These are all the books I got during this month (sorry I've been "missing" from the blog. It was a combination of school, being sick and spring break). I'm not going to talk about each book individually this time, but I'm excited for all of them! I'm especially excited for the ones my friend got for me at AAL! I don't even know where to begin with this set of books!

What did you get this week?

Monday, March 14, 2011

What are you reading on Mondays?

Book(s) read in the last two week:
Overprotected by Jennifer Laurens
Dark Mirror  by M.J. Putney

Currently reading:
Red Moon Rising by Peter Moore

Upcoming reading:
 Umm... Don't know whether to read a review book or a personal one.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Allison Hewitt is Trapped review

Description: Allison Hewitt and her five colleagues at the Brooks and Peabody Bookstore are trapped together when the zombie outbreak hits. Allison reaches out for help through her blog, writing on her laptop and utilizing the military's emergency wireless network (SNET). It may also be her only chance to reach her mother. But as the reality of their situation sinks in, Allison’s blog becomes a harrowing account of her edge-of-the-seat adventures (with some witty sarcasm thrown in) as she and her companions fight their way through ravenous zombies and sometimes even more dangerous humans.

My thoughts: After reading two or three good books, I was really concerned that the next book would be a dud, r at least not as good as the previous books. I was soooo wrong! This is an awesome book with multidimensional characters. The main character, Allison is the best kind of heroine who has to go through so much. Over time, her blog post invoked all kinds of emotion in me. At any time I was sad, then happy, then angry, and then scarred. I’m pretty sure I even shed a tear at one point.
The other characters are pretty cool too, more so because they are so realistic. This isn’t the Hollywood version of what would happen in a zombie apocalypse. There are no perfect characters. But there are sweet girls that resemble peter pan after getting a haircut, or geeky Asian guys with broken glasses, and hair that has grown way too long. And whether the characters lasted the whole story or not, they all got under my skin in one way or another.

Of course Allison was the one who affected me the most. I wish I could be as hardcore as Allison, at least in cases like a zombie apocalypse. She’s the girl that goes around with an axe, chopping off zombie’s heads when necessary. But an axe isn’t the only sharp thing she has. Her tongue might be even sharper than her weapon. She’s clever and humorous, and makes so many smart references that I felt the need to watch the Gilmore Girls after I finished reading (… because they have so many pop culture references…).
One main and constant emotion I felt was nervousness, for the characters. There was so much action, which meant many deaths and cringe worthy injuries. There were points in Allison’s life where nothing special seemed to be happening. But instead of thinking of those points as slow parts, I looked forward to those scenes. Because it meant that Allison and the other characters were safe, at least for a little while. This book took me through so much! I felt like I was a part of the journey (I definitely would have been the chick with the sword). And although I loved reading it, I was happy to see Allison’s journey complete. 

Note: Some people couldn’t get into this book because they thought it was unrealistic that the whole book was written as blog posts. It is a little unrealistic, but so is a zombie apocalypse. For me, the book was so good that I never let the um… unrealisticness of it overshadow the story. It’s like this; I’m not going to knock Cinderella for having talking mice. I’m going to sing along to the songs, hope karma knocks the stepmother on her butt, and impatiently wait for prince charming to find his future wife… I’m done with me rant. J

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Looking Foward to...

Description: Noah’s happier than I’ve seen him in months. So I’d be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It’s not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah’s happiness because of a kiss?
Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family’s beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But some girls are addictive....

My Thoughts:  This sounds like a really good contemporary novel. I can't wait until I get my hands on it!

Top Ten Tuesdays: My top ten books I just HAD to buy... but are still sitting on my bookshelf

 This meme was started by The Broke and the Bookish

There are two categories these books fall into. The first category deals with books I've had for almost a year:
The Host by Stephenie Meyer
Going Bovine by Libba Bray
The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
The Maze Runner by James Dashner
The Furnace series by Alexander Gordon Smith
Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl

I've had these books for soooo long. I don't understand why I haven't read these books. I remember trying to get arcs of Beautiful Creatures and Maze Runner! I'm actually ashamed that I haven't read the 2nd and 3rd books in the Furnace series. I LOVED the first book, why haven't I read the next two?!!

Then there are books that I've had for multiple month but are still fairly new:
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
The Broken Kingdoms by N. K. Jemisin
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Sea by Heidi R. Kling

I don't feel AS bad about these books because they're still all new. I'm just surprised that I didn't devour them, seeing as how I NEEDED to get them as soon as possible!! *sigh*
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